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Kart Preparation

What are some essential tasks we should do before getting onto the track for your first session. The first thing we're going to do is make sure that our data logger is fully charged up. The data logger then gives us the lap times, RPM and speed around the track. Next thing we want to do is check the tire pressures. First, we want to make sure that none of them have gone flat. To check the pressures, we're basically pushing the tire pressure gauge onto the valve & that gives us the reading of the tire pressure. We can start to bleed some air out. When it’s warmer, we want to start lowering the pressure. The higher pressure is good for cooler conditions, and we start to lower that tire pressure as the day warms up. Repeat this process on all four tires.

Digital tire pressure gauges can get 0.1 increments. When you go to an analog tire pressure gauge, you can't be as precise. So, it's still got the dial going down, but it's not going to give you the 0.1 to 0.3 increments that you need. As you get more experience, start to lower the rear tires a little bit more because they're the tires that attract more heat, especially in a go-kart. You can have the front tires, maybe 0.5 PSI more compared to the rear tires.

From there, we want to start our engine, by connecting the battery terminals. We've got our black terminal and our red terminal on the battery. On some engines, we've got a green to go and a red button to stop. So if any kids are unsafe out on track or they need to stop the kart suddenly, the red basically signifies that they can shut the engine down. If you are starting the engine for the first time, it's very likely it doesn’t have enough fuel in the carburetor to start the engine. We'll try and start it by pressing the green button.

Now it’s trying to pump some fuel through to the carburetor. If it doesn’t start, choke the engine by either placing your hand over the holes on the airbox, or for some engines, lifting the choke on the carburetor. It's going to suck more fuel through to the carby and giving it more fuel is going to start a lot faster.

So again, once you've stopped, press the brake to stop the engine and press the red button that disengages the engine. It's a good idea to warm up your engine for the first time before you go onto the track. Then with the brake you can ride the brake and throttle at the same time. That creates more force on the brake and it puts more load through the engine. So it heats it up faster, which is good, but it also heats the brakes up. That first time that you go onto the racetrack, you don't have a cold brake, and then it's going to be that inconsistent in the brake pedal.

The next thing is once we’ve got our engine started, it’s probably a good idea before we started the engine, is to put some chain lube on the chain. We go to the rear of the kart, spin the axle and spray the lube onto the chain, not so much the sprocket. Aim to spray the chain and the sprocket area for around three or four seconds. That gives the chain enough lube that in your session it starts to disperse some of that chain lube, but it keeps you having a nice wearing chain and lasting longer.

Once the engine is started, warmed up and the chain is lubed, check the fuel load before going on the circuit. I'd probably recommend not going right to the top. The reasoning behind that is when it's too full and you start to corner, the fuel starts to swish around, and if it is too high, there’s a chance that it might come out the top of the lid and start to go onto the driver's legs. We don't want fuel on the race legs, it might burn you. Now some people have the electric pumps, that's probably a lot easier, electric pumps. But in this case, a funnel and just simply just tipping it in should do the job.

So there you have a couple of maintenance tips on what you should be doing to start your on track sessions. From a safety point of view, you know that the kart starts, it stops, it brakes well, and everything's got heat through the engine.

To learn more about kart racing, check out our Kart Setup Program which helps both drivers and mechanics make the correct adjustments across a race weekend.

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